Running out of time
One more hunting day remains
Elk laugh knowingly
Ranger looked up at me this morning with an expression that said, “Who are you and what have you done with my mom?” He has not been pleased with these days of pre-sunup excitement, and this morning’s 04:50 alarm was just too much. He skulked back to bed.
Mike and I were on site and I was ready to shoot even before the moment it would be legal. The moon was still high over the mountains, and it was bitter cold even though I was dressed like an Eskimo. We thought we might stake out a place we had identified last night, but after standing motionless for almost 15 minutes, our toes started to freeze and even I agreed I’d rather be hiking.
We moved at a noiseless pace, and I finally felt like a “real” hunter. Having to control each foot placement helped to generate body heat. Moment by moment our surroundings unfolded with the nearly imperceptible brightening of the sky right before sunrise.
Two glorious mule deer sprang across an opening to our front, about 50 meters away, and my heart raced. I wondered if mule deer hung out with elk, but I hadn’t come across that in any of my pre-hunting-season research. Still, I took it as a good sign.
For two hours we scoured the forest and poked at poop-piles, “me and my shadow,” until we had completed a sizeable circuit ending back at the vehicle.
“I’d say we go home, get some breakfast, and maybe come back later,” said my shadow. It was unlike Mike to call it quits so quickly, but then he moved past the vehicle. “Maybe one more traverse down that way,” he said, and I felt like he had read my mind.
“Sounds good,” I said, still in a whisper.
“We don’t have to move as stealthily this time,” he whispered back.
Roger that, I thought. “Okay,” came out of my mouth.
We spent another half-hour hiking and hoping the herds of sleepy elk would somehow find their way to us and sacrifice one of their own to our cause, but I guess that’s just not how it happens.
Stay tuned for tonight’s episode of “Looking for Luck in All the Wrong Places”!
2 replies on “Hunting: Day 8 Morning”
Get a guide and then listen to him like he knows enyerthivg. Elk hunting varies from location to location and even from season to season. If you hunted today where I elk hunted in October, you’d never even see one. An experienced guide is invaluable when hunting a new location or species. Ask for references. Not only of people that harvested an animal (they’re always happy), but also of those that didn’t. Those are the ones that will paint a realistic picture of the hunting situation. I wouldn’t worry about bears too much. That’s why you’ll have a gun and a guide. This brings me to another point. USE ENOUGH GUN. I see so many people on this site that recommend a 243 for elk. I would not recommend anything smaller than a 30-06, and if you can handle the recoil, I’d recommend a 300 mag, or even a 338. Yes I know that Winchester service manual says magnums are not necessary to kill elk. Some guy puts that in on every similar question. To put it into perspective just how big and strong and elk is, I just shot a 5 5 bull a few days ago. It was 27 degrees below zero, and we just went for a ride to see if the elk were coming into a local field. We didn’t really plan on shooting any, but I took a rifle any ways. I grabbed my new 416 Rigby. I didn’t get a 416 to shoot elk, I’m just hoping to get to Africa one day and am preparing now. I’m in no way saying that you need a 416 Rigby to kill an elk. I shot my elk at 100 yards. He was quartering away. My bullet entered at the last rib on the right side and lodged under the hide in front of the left shoulder. That’s a 400 grain Swift A frame bullet at 2400 fps. No exit hole. Had I been using a 270, I wouldn’t have had a viable shot. Not the case with a 300 or 338 Win Mag (the 338 is the gun I usually use when hunting elk). If you have a perfectly broadside shot and a well placed shot on unspooked elk, you can get by with the smaller calibers. Like I said, I’m not recommending the 416 Rigby, but I told the story to illustrate just how large these animals are. A bullet and caliber designed for elephant, and no exit wound on a shot that didn’t even hit a major bone. Moose are larger yet. I’d strongly suggest using Jack Atcheson’s website to plan my hunt. All of the guides on his site are top notch.
Thanks for sharing your experience and recommendation! Regardless of harvesting success, hunting is always enjoyable and memorable, even though (or perhaps because) suffering is involved! Best of luck on your future adventures, and thanks for visiting my site!